If you own a classic car, chances are caring for it is not so much a hobby as a passion. As such, you spend a great deal of time meticulously protecting your beloved from classic car maladies such as rust. Given the likelihood this common problem will invade Ol’ Ethel at some point, here are some tips for keeping classic car rusting under wraps.
When moisture gets trapped in your car’s crevices (chassis, doors, sills, etc.), rust is sure to follow. But since these cavities can be difficult to access, protecting them with paint may not be a viable option. Instead, consider using rust-resistant wax or oil-based fluid in these areas, but make sure to use a careful hand. If you don’t feel comfortable applying these yourself, you might try a classic car restoration specialist.
Focus on Wheels and the Undercarriage
Mud and road salt buildup can bring rust, and your car’s wheels and undercarriage are prime targets. A garden hose or concentrated sprayer (instead of a pressure washer that can remove protective coatings) should help remove salt, dirt and debris from these areas, keeping rust at bay.
Store Your Classic Properly
If you own a classic car, chances are this one preaches to the choir. However, on the off chance you need reminding of the importance of adequately storing your precious investment, here goes:
- Find a dry, airy locale – wooden barns or brick garages work well.
- Crack windows (to air the interior) and disconnect the battery when it sits for long periods.
- Maximize air circulation by using fans or an inflatable plastic tent (air movement counteracts moisture).
Don’t Leave It Idle for Too Long
Even during harsh winter months, classic cars need to move to avoid rust buildup on brakes and other components. In fact, starting it at least once a month and driving whenever dry conditions allow help the engine warm up, keeping your classic primed for spring and fall. Also, whenever possible, activate the air conditioner. It reduces the chances of springing a leak in the pressure seals which will cause classic car rusting.
Team Up with a Specialist
Of course, you take pride in doing as many tasks yourself as possible. When it comes to engine care or other complex repairs, however, having a trusted technician evaluate and fix your classic car can be a smart option.